My dear Holiday Child,
I’m so glad you can join us to celebrate Chanukah. Welcome to the family! Since you’re a newbie, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a rundown on what to expect.
First of all, I hope you brought your appetite! I will be making my famous potato latkes, along with oven-fried latkes for those of us who don’t want too many fried foods. As for the great applesauce-or-sour-cream debate? Both, I say! I make my own applesauce because I like it chunky. Angela will be making her legendary salmon pie, and there will be a veggie tray. I may be the only one who eats the veggies, but sugar snap peas are irresistible, to me at least. For dessert, fruit and donuts (gotta have more fried foods!). And probably cookies and maybe a cheesecake, depending on what people bring.
You like cats, don’t you? Max is a lovebug and will be socializing with you within minutes. Iggy will make an appearance several hours later. They both like to have their chins skritched, so get ready for some quality time with them! They are very loud purr-ers, and Max likes to photobomb selfies.
And now a few words about the gift exchange: Please bring a gift of about $10.00, gift-wrapped in an over-the-top fashion and the more awful the better! We do a variation on “Secret Santa”, with exchanging, negotiating, and lots of noise. This is one of the highlights of the evening. Anything with early Justin Bieber is a guaranteed winner, as are ugly coffee mugs, books on topics that don’t interest anyone, etc., etc. Examples of past hits include a map of Manitoba, a framed internet meme of a potty joke, and a statue of an alien. If you’re reading this and thinking “Challenge accepted!”, you’ve adopted the right family! Insert evil laugh here.
Okay, now it’s time for the regular gifts. We’re big on gift cards, so expect to receive a few. It’s a variation on the tradition of giving money for Chanukah (a.k.a. Chanukah gelt). You are not expected to bring us anything, just bring yourself. We will light the menorah and sing Chanukah songs. Adam Sandler is definitely included on the playlist.
Other things I should probably warn you about: We have a tendency to break into song at the table. If this is not in your comfort zone, you can use song lyrics as part of the conversation. I am not kidding about this! Also, once you’re on the invite list, you don’t get off the invite list. It’s like Hotel California. (Here’s where we sing along, starting at “Relax, said the night man, we are programmed to receive”.) Basically, we don’t want you to leave our gang. You’re a cool person, and you bring a lot to our family, and the world, just by being you. Embrace your uniqueness. It took me a while, but I feel 1000% comfortable within my own skin, and I want that for you, too.
So, that’s about it for now. Can’t wait to see you as we celebrate the miracle of Chanukah and the miracle of a growing family, this year including you.
Bye for now,
Holiday Mom Rachel